Archive for June 30th, 2015

Elgin Fire Department touts advances

Excerpts from

From an automated way to fill holes in scheduling, to ambulances holding mobile cots designed to transport the morbidly obese, in recent years, the Elgin Fire Department has been taking advantage of advances in technology to upgrade its equipment and streamline operations.

Fire Chief John Fahy spoke about these moves at the June 10 City Council meeting.

… inspectors now input information into laptop computers, sending the information directly into the department’s database and sending it electronically to the business (instead of using paper forms)

Another change [is] using computer scheduling software through which messages are sent to off duty firefighters requesting their services to fill absences. The task used to take up to five hours, and now it takes about 30 minutes for a battalion chief to complete.

The department also has been using software for the classroom side of continuing training for firefighters.

On the operational side, among its vehicles the department in recent years purchased a quint for Station 7 on the city’s far west side. A quint is a multipurpose unit equipped with fire pump, water tank, fire hose, aerial device, and ground ladders — a combo of a ladder truck and fire engine.

“A host of technological upgrades to our engines have allowed us to turn each and every fire engine in the city into a paramedic engine,” Fahy said.

New cardiac monitors allow Elgin paramedics to communicate electronically with the department’s reporting system. And along with incorporating this new tech, the department has shifted its procedures for cardiac arrest care in the field.

Elgin now uses a NASCAR-like pit crew style for running a full arrest call, assigning specific jobs to paramedics and EMTs in a full arrest scenario in order to make sure that the highest quality CPR can be delivered in the location where the patient arrested. Fahy said this change has raised the number of cases in which patients return to spontaneous circulation from 14 percent in 2013 to 37 percent today.

This city in recent times has been averaging about 8,000 ambulance calls a year, and reports for those runs years ago went digital. …  “And reports now can be sent directly to our billing agent” Fahy said.

Two summers ago, the department upgraded an ambulance so that patients weighing up to 700 pounds can be more safely secured and transported.

Two new ambulances delivered June 10 and being readied for the road came equipped with power load systems which have special rails on their cots that adjust to secure patients. Ambulance crews line up the cots with the power load arms, and the system automatically lifts and loads patients.

As for other technologies that might be down the road for the department, Fahy mentioned that the police and fire departments are jointly looking at possibly getting a drone.

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Broadview FD training

This from Code Photography:

Here are some photos of the Broadview Fire Department doing some training with their burn tower.

More photos:

-Code Photography

firefighter training

Code Photography

firefighter training

Code Photography

firefighter training

Code Photography

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Study to investigate health hazards for firefighters

Excerpts from

During a collaborative research project underway now at the Illinois Fire Service Institute (IFSI), researchers are not only testing contaminates on the gear, but on skin as well. They’re also monitoring gases created as furniture and carpeting burn. But, that’s just part of the multi-faceted study involving researchers from IFSI, UL, NIOSH, University of Illinois, Chicago, and Skidmore College.

… 12 Illinois firefighters and researchers got underway [with] Each firefighter [having] blood drawn, vitals and temperatures checked. Urine samples were tested for certain markers as well as hydration. They were equipped with a device that will monitor the heart for the next 12 hours.

Dr. Denise Smith explained that part of the research is determining the impact of firefighting on the cardio-vascular system. “We talk about putting the rig back in service. How long does it take to get a firefighter back in service? We’re looking to see if there are changes hours after the firefighter does their work.”

Each year, dozens of firefighters die not on the fireground, but hours after the incident.

Firefighters participating in the study wore new gear to make sure samples were not skewed. They carried three chemical collection units, smaller than portable radios, in their coat pockets. When they completed their tasks, these was removed and tested.

UL and NIOSH engineers set up sensitive equipment to monitor gases and heat inside the rooms that would burn or exposed to smoke and heat.

UL Research Engineer Robin Zevotek set up thermal sensors from the floor to ceiling two feet apart in rooms that would burn. In other areas, they were placed a foot apart. During the scenario, he would be able to watch the temperatures on a nearby monitor.

In a hallway, devices would capture the data at one, three and five foot levels. The lowest would be where a victim would likely be, while others would be firefighters either crawling or walking.


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